I sometimes hear from people wondering what books, podcasts, websites I would recommend. I thought I would put together some of the resources I find helpful in the hope that you will find them helpful as well.
A word or two about why I have selected these and not others. What unifies these people is not that I necessarily agree with everything they say, do, think or write. Some of these figures represent my own (current) positions better than others and I read and listen to some of the voices listed below, more regularly than others.
Some of my Anabaptists readers might be offended by all of the Catholic thinkers and writers listed below (as well as from many other Christian traditions). The fact is, Anabaptists (need I say) do not have the corner market on truth, and there is no other Christian tradition with comparable intellectual firepower to Catholicism. Thoughtful Christians from any tradition would do well to listen to what Catholics have to say. Indeed, I often wish that in my own Hutterite circles, that we could all get over our Catholic phobias and start listening to more Catholic voices, instead of the Evangelical Trumpian crap that seems to pull us in like flies to a rotting carcass. (Which isn’t to say Catholics don’t have their own conspiratorial garbage.)
I think the reason I continue to come back to the thinkers and websites listed below is because they continue to help me discern what it means to be a Christian and to respond thoughtfully and faithfully the the time and place I find myself in. In the people below, you won’t (I don’t think) find any of the tribalistic, culture warrior, hear what you want to hear, us versus them commentary that characterizes so much of Christian media. Instead, what unites these voices is that they are Christian, thoughtful, self critical, and interested in responding faithfully to the issues of our day. I hope these resources help you to grow spiritually, intellectually and in faithfulness to the way of Jesus.
- Plough Magazine The online version of Plough magazine, run by the Bruderhof. Thoughtful, spiritually edifying pieces.
- America Magazine Catholic, Jesuit magazine, that “leads the conversation about faith and culture by producing excellent, unique, relevant and accessible content.”
- First Things First rate intellectual engagement with the issues of the day from a conservative, ecumenical, Catholic perspective.
- Commonweal Good counterpart to First things, comes from a more liberal, ecumenical, Catholic perspective.
- Ross Douthat Thoughtful Catholic, conservative columnist at the New York Times writing on politics and culture.
- Where Peter Is Catholic website, a great resource for understanding the vision of Pope Francis.
- Mere Orthodoxy Thoughtful Christian engagement with “arts, movies, literature, politics… sexuality, or any other crevice of the human experience.”
- Christianity Today Evangelical news and cultural commentary.
- Alan Jacobs: Christian humanities professor at Baylor University thinking out loud on his blog.
- The Dispatch A news site run by Never Trump conservatives.
- Renovarè Founded by Richard Foster, seeks to “help people in becoming more like Jesus.”
- Tent Theology Podcast of Kierkegaard scholar and political theologian Stephen Backhouse. I would especially recommend his series “Followers of the Way” for those of you wondering what it means to follow Jesus.
- Mere Fidelity The podcast of “Mere Orthodoxy” featuring conversations that “discuss the shape faithfulness to the Gospel should take in the twenty-first century.” The hosts “talk a lot about theology, but may take up anything pertaining to politics, culture, or society as well.”
- The Bible Project In depth conversations between biblical scholar Tim Mackie and question asker John Collins. If you want to learn about how the bible is a “unified story that leads to Jesus,” this is the podcast for you!
- Word on Fire Bishop Robert Baron is brilliant in his articulation of Christianity and Catholicism and is well worth listening to.
- On Script Interviews with some of the top biblical scholars in the field today.
- My Strange Bible An archive of Tim Mackie’s sermons and lectures.
- Crackers and Grape Juice Liberal Mainline pastors trying (and usually failing) to talk about faith “without using stained glass language.” Funny, insightful and provocative.
- Theology in the Raw Preston Sprinkle’s podcast, discusses a wide range of issues with a special focus on issues surrounding Christian sexual ethics.
- The Word: Scripture Reflections Spiritual reflections produced by America Magazine, I especially recommend the introduction to Ignition Contemplation called “Imagine.”
- Glory To God The podcast of Eastern Orthodox priest Father Stephen Freeman.
- Ask NT Wright Anything Every two weeks Justin Brierley sits down with New Testament scholar NT Wright to ask, well, anything.
- You’re Not Accepted Another podcast from the Crackers and Grape Juice team, they have a ongoing series discussing the works of Stanley Hauerwas that is worth listening to.
You Tube Channals:
- The Bible Project Short videos on word studies and biblical themes, great for classrooms or Sunday schools.
- Paul Vanderklay Paul is a pastor from Sacramento and a friend of mine. I’ve been listening to his videos for a few years now and he exemplifies what a thoughtful, compassionate Christian engagement with the issues of our day would look like.
- John Vervaeke Cognitive Scientist from Toronto University who does a lot of work on meaning of life. He has a 50 part lecture series called “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis” that is well worth getting into.
- Gregory Sadler Large archive of lectures introducing you to key figures in philosophy.
- Bishop Robert Baron Lectures and interviews from Bishop Robert Baron.
- Alistair Roberts Daily videos doing commentaries on the bible with a special focus on Biblical typology.
- Breaking in the Habit Short videos from Franciscan Friar, Casey Cole, his videos will give you a snapshot into the life of a Friar as well as excellent introductions to Christian, and specifically Catholic theology.
- Bruderhof A look into the life of the Bruderhof communities.
- Plough Publishing An archive of Events from Plough publishing.
- Jonathan Pageau Eastern Orthodox icon carver who makes videos on Christian symbolism.
- Brad Jersak Wide range of videos, often between Brad Jersak and Ron Dart, as well as many others, always compassionate and thoughtful.
- Ten Minute Bible Hour Listen to Matt talk about “God, Christianity, Church History, and most of all the Bible itself.”
Books and Authors: Most the the authors listed below have many more books besides the ones I listed and they would be worth reading as well! Looking over this list, I notice that one limitation is that most of these authors are mostly modern. With this noted, maybe that’s fine. Its easy to find lists of classics online, and you can’t go wrong by immersing yourself there. But what a lot of the writers below do, is bring the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition to bear on our contemporary situation, and they can help us to be thoughtful, rooted Christians, today.
Kierkegaard: A few words for readers interested in getting into Kierkegaard’s writings. I would recommend watching this interview, then reading Stephen Backhouse’s biography of Kierkegaard and then starting with Training in Christianity or Fear and Trembling.
- Alan Jacobs
- Jonathan Haidt
Christianity and Politics:
- John Howard Yoder
- Richard Hays:
- Walter Wink
- Stanley Hauerwas
- John Fea
- Søren Kierkegaard
- Jacques Elull
- Ivan Illich
- Marcus Peter Rempel
- David Bentley Hart
- Robert Jenson
- Rowen Williams
- Karl Barth
- Dietrich Bonhoffer
- Esther Meek
- Joseph Ratzinger
- Pope Francis:
- Wendell Berry: Read anything and everything by him.
- Jean Vanier
- Michal Reeves
- Richard Foster
- Dallas Willard
- James K A Smith
- For a list of recommended readings in theology see here.
- NT Wright
- Ellen Davis
- Kenneth Bailey
- Benjamin Myers
- Scott McKnight
- Beverly Gaventa
- Walter Brueggemann
- Sara Ruden
- For more books on biblical scholarship, see here.
- Charles Taylor
- Andrew Root
- Tara Isabella Burton
- Angela Nagel
- Ross Douthat
- Molly Worthen
- Kenneth Woodward
- Niel Postman
- Nicholas Carr
- Jaques Ellul
- Ian Mcgillchrist